Letter of Allegation to UN Human Rights Council: Freedom of Expression in Pakistan

Islamabad, March 14, 2013: Bytes for All, Pakistan and The Media Legal Defence Initiative, UK have submitted a Letter of Allegation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, calling for an end to the blocking of websites by the Pakistani government.

As a result of a deliberate government policy, numerous websites are currently unavailable in Pakistan, including YouTube and several news websites. Several other social network websites, including Twitter and Facebook, have been blocked in the past. 
 
This deprives the Pakistani public of an important source of information and constitutes a serious violation of the right to seek and receive information, as protected by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
 
Bytes for All have challenged the blocking before national courts, but this petition has been suspended by the courts until further notice.
 
With elections coming up, MLDI and Bytes for All request the UN Special Rapporteur to intervene and ensure that Pakistan immediately unblocks all websites that provide access to news content, and to put in place adequate safeguards to prevent their future blocking.
 
As per available UN mechanism, joint Letter of Allegation is accessible here.
 
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About Bytes for All, Pakistan
 
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”. www.bytesforall.pk
 
For more information (and please note the change in the office address):
 
Shahzad Ahmad
Bytes for All, Pakistan
House 273, Street 17, Sector F- 10/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
 
Tel. +92 51 2110494-95